The Vancouver Canucks enjoyed a breakthrough this summer, advancing to the second round of the playoffs after missing the post-season in five of the past six years. With the club's rebuild finally bearing fruit, the Canucks lead all Canadian clubs on the early NHL Western Conference odds for next season at +750 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Powered by a young, talented lineup led by the likes of Elias Pettersson and rookie rearguard Quinn Hughes, the Canucks' solid playoff performance featured the team's first series victory since its march to the Stanley Cup Final back in 2011. Vancouver saw veteran netminder Jacob Markstrom subsequently leave town to sign with Calgary as a free agent, but wasted no time in filling the void left between the pipes by inking Braden Holtby to a two-year deal.
The Canucks also enjoy an edge over their Canadian rivals on the Western Conference championship odds at sports betting sites. The Edmonton Oilers sit as Vancouver's closest competition among Canadian clubs on those futures, sporting +1000 odds, ahead of the Winnipeg Jets at +1500, while the Flames lag as a +1600 wager.
The Oilers saw a promising season come to a premature end with their stunning post-season series loss to Chicago in the qualifying round. But Edmonton has not rested. In addition to bringing Jesse Puljujarvi back to Edmonton on a new contract, the Oilers also added veteran scoring punch by signing free agent forward Kyle Turris, while bolstering their blue line corps with the addition of Tyson Barrie.
Facing a severe salary cap crunch, the Jets have not been big players in the free agent market, but made an important addition up the middle by dealing for centre Paul Stastny.
Fresh off a roller coaster campaign that ended with a first-round loss to Dallas, the Flames made headlines by signing Markstrom to a lucrative six-year deal. While Calgary is also short on cap space, the club found room to sign free agent defenceman Chis Tanev, and also secured a key member of its bottom six by inking forward Andrew Mangiapane to a two-year extension.
Back at the top of the Western Conference odds, the Colorado Avalanche maintain their perch as +275 favourites on those NHL odds. The Vegas Golden Knights had their bid for a second trip to the Stanley Cup Final thwarted by their loss to Dallas in this year's conference final, but enter the off-season as strong +325 second favourites to claim next season's Western Conference title.
The Stars join Vancouver at +750, while the St. Louis Blues close out the top of those odds as a +850 wager.